National Security, Technology & Law Working Group

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Analysis and Commentary

Jaworski Road Map To Be Mostly Unsealed

by Stephen Bates, Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, October 15, 2018

One month ago, the three of us filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for the release of the so-called “Watergate Road Map”—one of the last great still-secret Watergate documents. Last week, Chief Judge Beryl Howell, acting in a separate case, ordered the document’s release. The move, as Josh Gerstein notes in this Politico story, appears to have been prompted by our petition, on which we have been represented by the folks at Protect Democracy. 

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Fixing Social Media’s Grand Bargain

by Jack M. Balkinvia Aegis Paper Series
Monday, October 15, 2018

To regulate social media, we should focus on its political economy: the nature of digital capitalism and how we pay for the digital public sphere. This political economy creates perverse incentives for social media companies—encouraging them to surveil, addict, and manipulate their end users and strike deals with third parties who will further manipulate them. Treating social media companies as public forums or public utilities is not the proper cure, but social media companies, whether they like it or not, do have public obligations. This essay focuses on one approach to dealing with the problems of social media: new fiduciary obligations that protect end user privacy and counteract social media companies’ bad incentives.

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Tech Firms Are Not Sovereigns

by Andrew Keane Woodsvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

It is increasingly common to hear that the sovereigns that reign over the Internet are Internet firms—the companies that set user policies and wield enormous influence over the day-to-day functioning of the Internet. The user base of these firms can be larger than many countries. They have foreign policy teams and have even engaged in experiments with user-driven self-governance. In many ways, they look like states. But firms are not sovereigns.  Some public-facing Internet firms may find it expedient to resist some states, some of the time on some issues. But this does not mean that Internet firms are a serious and lasting threat to state sovereignty. Treating them as such is a distraction from the real problem: determining how and with what limits states—sovereign nations—ought to be able to achieve their aims online.

Featured

Quick Notes On The Rosenstein Revelations

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, September 21, 2018

There is a lot to chew over in the blockbuster New York Times story about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s erratic behavior in his first few weeks on the job, just after President Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey on May 9, 2017.

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Advanced Persistent Manipulators And Social Media Nationalism

by Clint Watts via Aegis Paper Series
Monday, September 17, 2018

Social media platforms provide an unprecedented opportunity for influencing populations. Citizens in Western democracies spend a significant amount of time on social media platforms and—as their virtual connections increase in number and intensity—they’ve begun to form social media nations affecting real-world national security.  Moving forward, social media, as an industry, will face a range of advanced persistent manipulators (APM) seeking to infiltrate, harness, and shape the perspectives of social media nations. The challenge of APMs will create an enduring threat to user trust and confidence in social media platforms.

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Platform Justice

by Danielle Citron, Quinta Jurecicvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The role of dominant content platforms like Facebook and Twitter in facilitating Russian election interference in the 2016 US presidential election has precipitated a backlash against “big tech,” and now the pendulum is swinging toward greater regulation of platforms for what their users say and do. Read the Lawfare post here.

Analysis and Commentary

The Dangers In The Trump-Brennan Confrontation

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, August 20, 2018

President Trump’s revocation of former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance brings together in an unfortunate way two pathological trends in the Trump era, and highlights the conundrum of the former intelligence official who wishes to speak out against the president’s attacks on the Russia investigation and the intelligence community more generally.

Analysis and Commentary

Executive Branch Lawyering In Time Of Crisis

by Bob Bauer, Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

We have complementary articles about the proper conception of lawyering for the president in times of crisis in the most recent issue of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics that we thought might be of interest to Lawfare readers.

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Tech Giants At The Crossroads

by Jon D. Michaelsvia Aegis Paper Series
Monday, July 30, 2018

Major technology companies find themselves at the center of two critical and vexing conversations. First is the digital public square conversation: millions of citizen-consumers wholly depend on these companies’ goods, services, and platforms to remain socially, politically, and economically engaged. Second is the deputization conversation: those same companies are often obligated to facilitate or intensify state surveillance over citizen-consumers. Thinking about the two conversations in combination—and thus viewing the tech firms as both victims and perpetrators in inherently unequal, imbalanced relationships—presents opportunities for a grand regulatory bargain that fixes the pair of problematic links in the broader chain of private-public relations. 

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An Intelligence Reserve Corps To Counter Terrorist Use Of The Internet

by Daniel Bymanvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

This papers assesses the creation of an Intelligence Reserve Corps (IRC) to counter terrorist use of the Internet. US government agencies are poorly equipped to handle cutting-edge technological problems and they often devote resources too late, giving terrorists a window in which to exploit new technologies. An IRC, modeled loosely after military reserve programs, would bring in part-time government personnel with a technical background and increase private sector awareness of government needs. Many companies, however, would not support participation, and cultural and other differences are likely to limit progress.

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Aegis on Lawfare

 
Aegis explores legal and policy issues at the intersection of technology and national security.  Published in partnership with Lawfare, it features long-form essays of the working group, examines major new books in the field, and carries podcasts and videos or the working group’s events in Washington and Stanford.

Security by the Book Podcasts

The Security by the Book podcast series features monthly interviews with authors of important, new national security-oriented books and publications.

In the News

Security By The Book With John J. Mearsheimer

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Security by the Book with John J. Mearsheimer" on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 from 5:30pm - 6:30pm EST.

Event
In the News

Security By The Book: Habeas Corpus In Wartime With Amanda Tyler

Monday, May 14, 2018
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Security by the Book: Habeas Corpus in Wartime with Amanda Tyler" on Monday, May 14, 2018 from 5:00pm - 6:30pm EST.

Event
In the News

A Discussion Of Tim Maurer's New Book: Cyber Mercenaries

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "A Discussion of Tim Maurer's New Book: Cyber Mercenaries" on Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 5:30pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event
In the News

Security By The Book Featuring Amy Chua

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Security by the Book featuring Amy Chua" on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event
In the News

Security By The Book: Max Boot's New Book, "The Road Not Taken"

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Security by the Book: Max Boot's new book, 'The Road Not Taken,'" on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event
In the News

Listening In: Cybersecurity In An Insecure Age

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age" on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event
Featured

The Internationalists: How A Radical Plan To Outlaw War Remade The World

Monday, September 11, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World" on Monday, September 11, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event

Technology Giants, Sovereign Power, And Surveillance

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution’s Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law hosts a conference on July 26, 2017 titled, Technology Giants, Sovereign Power, and Surveillance.

Event
In the News

Destined For War: Can America And China Escape Thucydides's Trap?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?" on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event
In the News

The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, And Plutocrats Are Transforming The Marketplace Of Ideas

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas" on Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event

Pages

The Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law brings together national and international specialists with broad interdisciplinary expertise to analyze how technology affects national security and national security law and how governments can use that technology to defend themselves, consistent with constitutional values and the rule of law.

The group will focus on a broad range of interests, from surveillance to counterterrorism to the dramatic impact that rapid technological change—digitalization, computerization, miniaturization, and automaticity—are having on national security and national security law. Topics include cybersecurity, the rise of drones and autonomous weapons systems, and the need for and dangers of state surveillance. The group’s output will also be published on the Lawfare blog, which covers the merits of the underlying legal and policy debates of actions taken or contemplated to protect the nation and the nation’s laws and legal institutions.

Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes are the cochairs of the National Security, Technology, and Law Working Group.